Before booking your flight to the UK make sure that you have a passport which is valid for a least 6 months beyond your intended stay in the UK.
Applying for a passport can be a lengthy process, so don't leave it to the last minute.
The UK Border Agency (UKBA) is responsible for for securing the UK border, enforcing immigration and customs regulations. The UKBA uses a points-based system for student visas. You should find out more about UK immigration procedures before leaving your country.
Information on applying for a visa regularly changes and will vary depending on the country you are applying from. You should always refer to the following UK Border Agency websites for the updated information:
Will I need entry clearance or a visa to study in the UK?
The flowchart above is also available to download and print as a PDF from the UKBA website.
You will not need entry clearance (a visa) if you hold a UK passport or one issued by another country in the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA), or Switzerland and enter the UK using this passport.
- If your programme at Leicester is less than 6 months you can enter as a student visitor. Once your application has been approved, it will ensure smoother entry into the UK than the Tier 4 Visa route.
If you are a visa national (see below) you must obtain entry clearance as a student visitor before leaving your home country. You need to complete the appropriate application form and submit it to your nearest UK Embassy or High Commission for approval. There is a charge (approx. 78 GBP) for this but once your application has been approved, it will ensure smoother entry into the UK.
Non-visa nationals have the option of applying for entry clearance as a student visitor in advance, or upon arrival at a UK border. Make sure that you have documentary evidence available in your hand luggage - including your Leicester offer letter and the Student Visitor Letter - to prove you are in the UK for studies rather than for a vacation. You will also require documentary evidence in English showing that you are financially able to support yourself and pay your tuition and accommodation fees. You may be required to show all this information to the Immigration Officer on arrival.
As a student visitor you will not be permitted to work (including voluntary work) or extend your programme.
To see if you are a visa national, consult the list at: www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/policyandlaw/immigrationlaw/immigrationrules/appendix1/
- If your programme is longer than 6 months you will require a Tier 4 Student Visa. To be able to apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa you must obtain a Certificate of Acceptance (CAS) from the University of Leicester before you make your visa application. See below on how you can obtain a CAS from Leicester.
For students whose programmes are longer than 6 months we will automatically email you a CAS Request Form that you must check and send back to us. Once we have received this and have all the information that we need we will request a CAS from the UK Border Agency (UKBA) for you. Once we receive this from UKBA we will send you another email with your CAS number and information on what to do next.
If you have to apply for a Tier 4 Visa, allow plenty of time and request your CAS as soon as possible. You can apply for your visa up to 3 months prior to arrival in the UK.
It is very important that you keep checking your email inbox on a regular basis.
- Tier 4 Visa applications cost 289 GBP as at April 2012
- Student Visitor applications before travelling - 78 GBP as at April 2012. Getting Student Visitor status on arrival at a UK airport (only possible as a non-visa national) – free
For all of the above the UKBA will also require proof that you have the necessary funds for the cost of your Study Abroad Programme, accommodation and living expenses, (at least 800 GBP per month).
Yes. You cannot undertake work, voluntary or paid and you will not be granted an extension to your stay. You cannot change to a Tier 4 Visa once you are here.
Are there any advantages of entering as a Student Visitor?
Yes. If you are eligible to enter as a Student Visitor the process may be simpler, quicker and cheaper.
A person who is a national or citizen of certain countries and will always require a visa to enter the UK.
To find out if you are a visa national please consult
As previously stated visa information regularly changes. The above information should only be treated as a provisional
guide. Please check the listed websites for updated information.
If you have any pre-arrival questions concerning making a visa application, please contact our Student Welfare Office at: Welfare@le.ac.uk
International students who travel to countries in Europe (other than Great Britain) whilst studying abroad may require a Schengen Visa. For more information please see the Student Welfare Service's website for further details.